Monday, September 27, 2010


Grief isn't linear and sometimes you can go days feeling great and them regress and feel as though you haven't come far at all. One of the most frustrating things is thinking that what you're feeling isn't "normal." While there is no "normal", there are some things that are common. The following is a list of things that you might feel or experience. (or, you might not,)

From the "Bereaved Parents of the USA" website:

Some of the things you may experience or feel are:
  • Depression.
  • A profound longing and emptiness.
  • Wanting to die. This feeling usually passes in time; for eventually you will realize that you must go on for the sake of remaining family members, yourself and your child who died.
  • Profound sadness.
  • Crying all the time or at unexpected times.
  • Inability to concentrate on anything, frequently misplacing items.
  • Wondering “Why???”
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Questioning yourself over and over: "IF only I had….?" "Why didn’t I…?"
  • Placing unnecessary guilt on yourself or others.
  • Anger with yourself, family members, God, the doctor and even your child for dying.
  • Fearing that you are going crazy! (very normal)
  • Great physical exhaustion. Grief is hard work and consumes much energy!
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time to avoid the pain.
  • Physical symptoms such as heaviness in your chest or having difficulty breathing (if these feelings persist see your physician) tightness in your throat, yawning, sighing, gasping or even hyperventilating.
  • Lack of appetite or over eating.
  • Weight gain or weight loss.
  • Anxiety. (Often associated with overprotective behavior toward surviving children and other family members.)
  • Denial of your loss, thinking that your child will return. (Denial can be effectively treated by spiritual leaders as well as psychologists. Seek help if your denial phase persists beyond a month.)
  • Needing to tell and retell the story of your child’s death.
  • Inability to function in your job.
  • Sensing your child’s presence or an odor or touch associated with your child.
  • Having difficulty grocery shopping because of seeing your child’s favorite food(s) on the shelves.
  • Irrationally upset with yourself if you smile or laugh, thinking how can I smile, my child is dead? (Your child will want your life to be as good and as happy as possible in spite of death’s intervention.)
  • Feelings as if your spouse or other family members don’t understand your grief or are not grieving as you think they should. Remember everyone grieves differently.
  • Losing old friends who don’t seem to understand your pain and grief.
  • Making new friends through support groups with members who have also experienced the death of a child and therefore understand your feelings.
  • Feeling like you are making progress in your grief work, then slip back into the old feelings. Grief work usually is a succession of two steps forward and one step back over a long period of time.
  • Becoming very frustrated with others who expect you to be “over this” in a month, six months or a year and who say so. Or even being frustrated with yourself for expecting to be “over this” too soon.
  • Grief work from the death of your child is a slow process. Be patient with yourself.

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